Ancient Greek culture and mythology is famously humanist, and they had a strong tradition of Heroes who undertook epic feats throughout the mythos.

As far as I can tell, all the Heroes had a god or goddess somewhere in their family tree, either as a parent or a more distant ancestor.

I’m curious if this is a rule, or just a trend? Did any significant Greek Heroes or Heroines live without any divine ancestry?

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    One notes that many ancient Greeks claimed to have a divine ancestor.
    – Mary
    Jan 6, 2023 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


If you go up the family tree (as much as you can with varying parentages), most mythological figures will have an ancestor that is divine.

One of the only ones that comes to mind, as a hero who didn't have divine lineage would be Diomedes (Son of Tydeus).

At first glance, I would have maybe suspected someone like Odysseus would also have been "fully" mortal, however, his mother Anticlea, was the daughter of Autolyus

The Odyssey 11.85 the daughter of Autolycus, great-hearted Anticlea

who in turn is often described as the son of Hermes.

Bibliotheca 1.9.16 Autolycus, son of Hermes;

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    Welcome to Mythology&Folklore! Alas! Unfortunately, the family tree of Diomedes is precisely among the typical sorts that you would find in Greek myth -- similar to Odysseus's, like you've pointed out -- wherein if you travel far enough up the line, you'll undoubtedly arrive at (numerous!) divine ancestors. To name but a few, among Diomedes' ancestors would have been the Olympians Zeus, Poseidon, Ares and Hera, as well as the Titans Prometheus, Atlas, Oceanus and Tethys (some of these appearing on both sides of his family, as is indeed the case with so many other Heroes).
    – Adinkra
    Feb 12 at 22:03

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